Dear Fanatec, why did you treat me this way?

Discussion in 'Sim Racing Hardware' started by johndough247, Sep 15, 2018 at 04:24.

  1. YES

    2 vote(s)
    12.5%
  2. NO

    10 vote(s)
    62.5%
  3. YES, but no more McLaren wheels

    4 vote(s)
    25.0%
  1. johndough247

    johndough247
    Premium

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    (Long rant ahead, but it was a long time coming...)

    @DomB_Fanatec (I'd tag Thomas Jackermeier if he had a RD account)

    Dear Fanatec,

    Why did you treat me this way? I considered myself amazingly lucky almost 10 months ago. It was the Fanatec Advent Calendar auction and I had, to my surprise, just won the first prize discount: A new Fanatec CSW v2.5 and BMW GT2 Rim combo at 50% off. Two months before this, I had just survived one of the worst hurricanes ever recorded (Hurricane Irma), but my trusty G27 wasn't so fortunate (Our house and my family are all OK, just some water damage to several possessions and a broken window or two...we were extremely lucky compared to others). So I bought the discounted wheel and eagerly spent a month awaiting arrival (I live outside their distribution network, so it had to arrive here by shipping barge...more on that later).

    So I finally receive the items around Christmas along with also discounted Fanatec V3 inverted pedals (which have been rock solid so far, for the record). The wheel worked perfectly for a few minutes of use until the BMW LCD screen starts glitching out (DEFECTIVE WHEEL #1). I contact Fanatec support and they ask for a video showing the problem. After seeing it, they asked me to send in both the wheel and the CSW base for inspection. Imagine waiting for the wheel of your dreams and only after a day or so with it, you gotta send it away? Not cool. Anyways I send it through the same shipping company we use to receive items bought in US online stores. After two weeks of waiting for it to get back to their repair center in California, they write me to say both the wheel and the base check out fine, the screen is functioning normally. Ok...maybe whatever knocked loose found its way back during shipping? Anyways, I told them I don't want the BMW rim back and I'll pay the price difference for an upgrade to the Porsche 918 rim. I received everything another month later (2 months actually as I was away receiving treatment for a medical issue). Everything worked great...Porsche rim is functioning perfectly to this day.

    Meanwhile, jumping back to last November when I ordered the pedals, I also ordered the CSL McLaren GT3 Rim. Oh boy where do I begin?

    So after the well known 2 month delay in shipping those 1st pre-orders, I finally, around early May, got my hands on this wheel I had been looking forward to for nearly half a year. After updating the firmware as suggested by Fanatec, I tried the wheel out. Right away, the 7 way "funky-switch" was malfunctioning (DEFECTIVE WHEEL #2)...if I turn it continuously in one direction, either clockwise or anti-clockwise, it will look like LEFT RIGHT LEFT RIGHT LEFT RIGHT etc. In other words, I couldn't adjust any settings by turning the knob...if I adjust Force Feedback for example, it would go 100, 90, 100, 90...over and over. So, I talk to Fanatec support again and record a video in advance. They said to send it in. I said NO, because I don't want to wait for another month due to my location, so they said they'll send a replacement funkyswitch and instructions on how to repair it. I receive it in about a week (it's small and light, so sending it by plane is reasonably cheap). That didn't fix it. So now they said it's a Main board issue so they suggest sending it in, as replacing the board is a little trickier. I asked for a discount/credit for having had to replace 2 Fanatec wheels that were broken from the start all within the space of a few months. They refused, but instead offered to ship the replacement right away before receiving the defective one. I figured "what choice do I have?"...so I agreed and sent it in (Let's call this "McLaren #1"). It's July at this point and my summer vacation had just started. I decided I'd use the defective one until I went on a trip in August, so that I wouldn't spend time at home without a working GT3 style rim (Feeling wise, this was my favorite rim thus far and I love GTE and modern open wheelers).

    I ship it off in mid August and received the replacement wheel shortly thereafter (I have to send the defective product to receive the replacement according to the shipping company). Let's call this new wheel "McLaren #2". I checked the funkyswitch first: it works! All is well I thought, and fired up Automobilista and Assetto Corsa that night. All seemed well except I had one or two incidents where I could have sworn I pressed the shifter and it didn't shift. I figured, it was user error and dismissed it. Next day I do a few more practice sessions in Automobilista and more and more, the car would miss 1 click of the downshift paddle. Then it would miss two clicks. Then 3 and 4...by the end of the night it would miss almost every downshift click. I tried other sims...same thing. I go to the control panel and it's confirmed: the shifter is indeed faulty (DEFECTIVE WHEEL #3)! I search for this issue online and it turns out several people have had this shifting issue (both RD and reddit users). I contact Fanatec support (again with a video...) and they, once again, ask me to send in for a replacement. I said to the sales manager that you need to send me the replacement first after all this trouble I've been through with these Fanatec wheels. She refused, but said once a show her a shipping receipt that I sent the defect, they'll ship immediately. She initiates the RMA protocol...here we go again. :mad:

    Angry and frustrated, I send a private message to Dominic Brennan, Fanatec's newly appointed Community Manager, to seek assistance with this issue on the Fanatec community forum. I said that, as much as I like the McLaren wheel, I can't keep exchanging defects for more defects and would like a credit so I can by something else...namely the Fanatec H-shifter and/or the handbrake. This was September 9th. On September 10th I noticed a shipping notice from Fedex in my email (Dated Sept 5; guess it slipped by me). Apparently as timing would have it, Fanatec's repair center had just recently received McLaren #1 and thought that was McLaren #2, so they shipped McLaren #3! So here was another Mclaren wheel on its way to me...third time's a charm, right? (Please note: at no time prior to this did I blast Fanatec for their defective track record...kept waiting for this to be made right)

    Today, I finally receive McLaren #3 on my lunch break. I didn't open the box until I got home an hour ago. I look inside, and I notice the Xbox button caps are in the little baggie they include, which was odd as the other wheels were not like that. I pull out the wheel...it was McLaren #1! The stickers were still on it exactly where I had left them. I figured "Hey, this one didn't have the shifting issue...so if they fixed the main board issue with the funkyswitch, this one will be golden!"....I plug it in. THE FUNKYSWITCH IS STILL ******* BROKEN!!!! They had my wheel and did ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO IT AT THE REPAIR CENTER. Let's call this DEFECTIVE WHEEL #4 (Even though it's technically #2)!

    So here we are...4 broken wheels and a Fanatec "fanboy" with now a lot less patience and trust in your ability to provide a reliable product. I tried really hard to keep all of this private and hoped for a private resolution...but after no response from Dominic (if even to say "I received your message but we shipped your replacement already"), plus receiving what was in essence 3 consecutive broken wheels from the service center, I give up. I really wanted a Fanatec DD1 or DD2 in the future, but if this is what your quality control is like, then I'll take my money elsewhere.

    Fanatec, why did you treat me this way? :cry:
     
  2. anton_Chez

    anton_Chez
    Premium

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    Very unfortunate. I've dealt with Fanatec customer service and I cannot say a bad thing about them, honestly. That is not to say your feelings or experience is wrong or invalid. They're absolutely not. I feel sorry that you have had such a bad run of it and it does make you lose faith in a company or brand that you trusted and enjoy using their products.

    I hope that something gets sorted for you. Maybe a little compensation, throw in a gift voucher for a different style rim you might like or a bonus quick release for it? I know you probably won't want to buy Fanatec gear after all of this but at least it's something from them.

    Anyway. We have had many stories about the good vs bad service received by members from the crew at Fanatec. I'd like to think the bad experiences are just mix ups or a little bad luck. They must get a lot of traffic through customer service requests considering the amount of product they'd be shipping. There are bound to be mix ups.
     
    • Disagree Disagree x 1
  3. racingenthusiast

    racingenthusiast
    Premium

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    Fanatec are an absolute joke, customer service is utter rubbish and their products have a history of failing. That is a combination that you should not want to get involved in ever again.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
    • Disagree Disagree x 1
  4. anton_Chez

    anton_Chez
    Premium

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    Again, in YOUR experience. I've not had a Fanatec product completely fail in the 2 years that I was using them. When I had an issue they sorted it out quickly and without a hassle. I am aware people have had issues with both reliability and customer service but in my experience that has not been the case.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  5. Durge Driven

    Durge Driven

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    The bald guy does wheel reviews

    I saw where he complained the P1 wheel was bending on the new Elite Base
    Like me was forcing it up and down to show how much movement there was, ridiculous
    way to treat hardware !

    Maybe he should have checked he never cross threaded the locking nut or had even done it up tight enough, it's nothing like in his video if i could find it again
     
  6. johndough247

    johndough247
    Premium

    Messages:
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    Just curious, which Fanatec service area do you live in? US, Europe, Australia or Japan?

    Maybe only the US service area needs improvement, but regardless, I shouldn't have to be sending items back and forth for months on end with no resolution...and I really can't excuse the fact that they sent my first wheel back exactly how it left. That was the tipping point that drove me to writing the letter: if such gross negligence by the US shop could affect me, it could happen to someone else.

    I could barely afford to buy Fanatec equipment (thus why everything I've bought except the Mclaren wheel was at a 40 - 50% discount) and after you spend most of your day working hard, the last thing you want to be doing at night is troubleshooting why the thing you spent so much money on, the thing that's suppose to help you unwind and relax isn't working, despite many attempts of trying to resolve it the right way.
     
  7. LoeVG

    LoeVG

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    Seems like it's a trend to bash on Fanatec in this forum.. Wonder why. :whistling:
     
    • Disagree Disagree x 2
  8. johndough247

    johndough247
    Premium

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    ...and an even bigger trend to speak first without actually reading everything and comprehending what you read.

    I was (and still am, to some extent) a huge Fanatec fan so don't lump me in with those who hate on a brand for the fun of it...all I'm saying is 'all is not right in Wonderland'...some changes need to be made in quality control in both manufacturing and repairing.
     
    • Like Like x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1
  9. LoeVG

    LoeVG

    Messages:
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    @johndough247 ,

    Never assume I don't read before I type.. I wasn't talking about your OP, but another guy in here constantly bashing on Fanatec.

    Your post is a perfect example on how to approach this matter. I have no problems with your OP! It's perfectly written and explains your issues very well! I'm from EU and I've NEVER had an issue with Fanatec service.. Fanatec even repaired my CSW V2 base slightly out of warranty!
     
    • Disagree Disagree x 1
  10. LoeVG

    LoeVG

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    @racingenthusiast ,

    Care to comment on why you disagree with my posts? Be the adult you are and put words on your toughts rather than being a child and disagree vote everybody's comments.. You're like talking to a child - Don't expect a very intelligent argument to your opinion.. Smh.
     
    • Agree Agree x 4
    • Disagree Disagree x 1
  11. johndough247

    johndough247
    Premium

    Messages:
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    Ok no problem, sorry for the misunderstanding.
     
    • Like Like x 1
    • Beer Beer x 1
  12. Kenny Paton

    Kenny Paton
    Staff Premium

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    If you're implying some sort of bias on here, I would point out that the positive posts in Fanatecs favour far outweigh the negatives.
    Unfortunately it seems to be human nature that those who are happy with a product are less vocal than those who are not.
     
    • Agree Agree x 3
  13. Terry Rock

    Terry Rock

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    Hardware issues with Fanatec products seem to either get exceptional attention...or go horribly wrong.
    There doesn't seem to be any middle ground in these situations.
    My own experience with them has left me a bit disappointed and 'gun-shy' to purchasing additional products.
    I received the coupon code to take advantage of the V-series wheel when it was first offered, but but that time my own woes was cause for concern.
    My Clubsport pedals...(which were shipped as new with somebody else's return receipt still inside the packaging), has caused me enough issues to write a book.
    Sensor after sensor...including the main board have been replaced.
    Their latest proposal was for me to ship the pedals back (at my expense of course)...wherein they repair them at $35/hr plus parts cost).
    "No thanks"...they should have been replaced after failure of the third throttle sensor and main board.
    By todays value, I've already spent more than 1/2 of what the pedals cost new.
     
  14. Turk

    Turk

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    That must be frustrating, you had a bad run of luck. Manufacturing faults happen, anyone can be one of the unlucky few that gets the defective one.

    Your issue seems compounded by your location dragging simple returns into a year long affair. I've contacted Fanatec twice for repairs and it was rapid, but I live in Ireland, I could wake up in Ireland and be in Germany for dinner time.

    Their customer support is good, it's just the distances involved that's making every problem ten times worse. All you can do is stick with it unfortunately.
     
    • Agree Agree x 3
  15. LoeVG

    LoeVG

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    What Turk said.

    Fanatec being a EU based company, EU customers may experience a faster/better customer service than the US, Eastern and south eastern counterparts. That said, all customers should receive the same service, but you can't expect the same delivery time/process time the EU customers may receive.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  16. DomB_Fanatec

    DomB_Fanatec
    Fanatec Community Manager Premium

    Messages:
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    @johndough247 Hi Brandon, apologies for the delay, I got back from a very busy Sim Expo last night and I'm just catching up on all of the forums. I'm sorry to hear about your experience with our products, and I will be following up on this with the support team. I have also double-checked our forum and I don't see any private messages that could be from you.

    I will send you a private message on here and we can discuss the next steps.
     
    • Like Like x 3
  17. Turk

    Turk

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    While your there, website is running very slow, can't get past the country selector page. Get "ERR_EMPTY_RESPONSE".
     
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